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AIB League: Division 2 Previews

AIB League: Division 2 Previews

The AIB Cup finals are on at Dubarry Park this weekend but there is still plenty of AIB League action as clubs catch up on their postponed games. The weekly question of who can stop Lansdowne is posed to Thomond this Saturday, while the Donnybrook derby between Old Wesley and Bective could have a real impact on promotion hopes and you can follow that game on twitter!

AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 2: Saturday, January 30

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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Belfast Harlequins (6th) v De La Salle Palmerston (2nd), Deramore Park

Another week, another big game for both teams. Neither club can afford to lose at this stage and with only three points between them and promotion at stake, this will be a big game at Deramore Park.

De La Salle narrowly beat Terenure College last weekend but lost out to Bective the week before, while Belfast Harlequins come into this game on the back of a win and a draw against Dublin opposition, having beaten Old Wesley and UCD in recent weeks.
With Bective and Wesley involved in a Donnybrook derby this is an ideal time for ‘Quins or ‘Salmo to capitalise and stake their claim. The odds slightly favour an away win but this could go either way.
Corinthians (10th) v Clonakilty (15th), Corinthian Park
Clonakilty still have a game in hand on relegation rivals Greystones and Old Crescent so this is a fixture that could really help them in the race to avoid the drop.
Host side Corinthians are safe from the drop zone but will not be featuring in the play-offs this season. Promotion from Division 3 last season and a safe season in Division 2 is still an achievement but the Galway side may entertain further ambitions and will hope to improve their position with a win this weekend.
Dublin University (12th) v Malone (11th), College Park
Points and pride are at stake on Saturday at College Park. The Trinity lads have garnered six losing bonus points from their seven losses but will be hoping to be on the other side of the statistic after this game.
Malone travel with three wins under their belt and while they have scored less points than the students, they have also conceded less.
A tough one to call really but it should be a good game nonetheless if you are strolling through the college on Saturday afternoon.
Lansdowne (1st) v Thomond (9th), The RDS
Roll up, roll up, pay your money and take your chance to knock them off their perch. Step forward Thomond for a crack at the unbeaten Lansdowne, the side that has dominated Division 2 so far this season.
The stats do not lie. Nine wins in as many games, six try-scoring bonus points and 42 points overall. Lansdowne are 14 points clear at the top of the table but ambitions change as a season trundles on and while they will still be focused on promotion, thoughts may also turn to keeping a clean sheet in so doing.
Thomond’s play-off ambitions took a dent in recent weeks with a draw against Bruff and a 19-point loss to Bective last weekend. They will not lie down but the odds are stacked in the home team’s favour.
Old Crescent (14th) v Greystones (16th), Rosbrien
Relegation. Dog fight. Plain and simple, this one comes down to survival.
The Rosbrien boys squeezed a losing bonus out of Malone last weekend and picked up a good win on the road at Trinity the week before and so come into this game with a boost in confidence.
‘Stones made Bruff work for their points last week and picked up an invaluable win over fellow relegation contenders Clonakilty the week before.
Nothing focuses the mind better than the prospect of relegation and this game really could swing either way. An away win could see the Wicklow side climb off the bottom rung for the first time in weeks.
Old Wesley (4th) v Bective Rangers (3rd), Donnybrook
This is old school. It probably would not pass muster as a script but you could not ask for a better game this weekend.

Neighbours and now rivals. All square on 27 points. Possible promotion and play-off places at stake. The voiceover would not do it justice.

To add to the occasion you can also follow the game on twitter with score updates direct from the ‘Brook as Old Wesley and mobile technology partner Eircom Mobile Broadband will keep you up to date on www.twitter.com/OldWesleyRFC

Newly-promoted Wesley have refused to accept safety this season and gone hell for leather to claim a promotion spot two seasons running. Six wins and three try-scoring bonus points in the bag.
Bective come into this game on the back of putting a serious dent in Thomond’s ambitions last weekend. Their six wins and a draw and their marginally better points difference sees them above Wesley in the placings.
Call yourself a rugby fan? Then if you’re not at Dubarry Park for the AIB Cup finals, you should be at Donnybrook for this showdown.
Terenure College (8th) v Bruff (5th), Lakelands Park

Concentrate on the job in hand. That will be the message in the Bruff dressing room on Saturday. But there will surely be one eye on Donnybrook to see what advantage they can take.

Bruff are level on points with the Bective and Wesley and could move right up the table should results go their way.

Still they need to beat a lively Terenure side that have caused problems for other promotion contenders – making DLSP work very hard last Saturday and beating ‘Quins in Belfast.
‘Nure are likely to finish outside the play-offs this season and will rue a few lost chances but they can build on some of their successes and will aim for another scalp on Saturday.
UCD (7th) v Highfield (13th), Belfield
Even stevens for UCD so far. Four wins, four losses and one draw. Mid table on 20 points, they have shown they can score tries but have not managed to break down the higher-ranked sides.
They have lost to Belfast Harlequins and Lansdowne in recent outings, so a win is badly needed to get the confidence flowing again.

Highfield will not be an easy target. They are only five points adrift of the ‘College lads but they badly need a win to keep them out of the relegation zone.

Were Old Crescent or Clonakilty to win, they could leapfrog the Cork side – pushing them to third from bottom.